Making Kindness Contagious

A banner that read “Make Kindness Contagious” transmitted that vision into Mayor Tom Tait, inspiring him to run for mayor of Anaheim, California, on a platform of kindness. Establishing kindness as fundamental to the city’s operations, he made it his mission to heal the city from within. He won and stayed true to his message. From that, the City of Kindness emerged.

I had the chance to connect with a spokesperson for City of Kindness, to learn more about their projects as well as the importance of transmitting the message of making kindness contagious to other cities and communities.

 

Your mission statement is “to make the world a better place by increasing the amount of kindness in it.” How would you apply this concept in a situation where people may still have an “unkind” response to our kindness?

At City of Kindness, we believe we can make the world a better place by increasing the amount of kindness in it, regardless of how a kind act is received. We don’t believe people should let the fear of a kind act being rejected or shut down [by someone else] stop them from being kind. How a kind act is received doesn’t take away from the significance of showing kindness. Showing kindness isn’t just for the direct recipient of a kind act – we believe that when others see kindness in action, they use it as inspiration in their own lives.

I know that you guys have created a variety of initiatives such as “Hi Neighbor” & “1 million acts of kindness.” What prompted you all to create such inspiring ideas?

City of Kindness is a hub of resources that we like to refer to as “a curated collection of kindness.” We share resources and inspiration for the kindness that we hope our community will find helpful for implementing kindness into their daily lives. Some initiatives, such as the 100 Billion Acts of Kindness Resolution stemmed from the 84th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors with Lady Gaga, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and City of Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, are led by City of Kindness. Other initiatives are shared with us from our kindness network. We include these shared initiatives on our site to benefit the greater good with the hope of increasing the amount of kindness in our world.

On your website, you provide a variety of resources to the community such as Kind Cards, & Kind Products. How can we all become inspired to create similar resources in our communities?

By sharing kind resources, we can increase the amount of kindness in our communities. We encourage anyone with a need to visit our website to get connected with the resources to thrive and make an impact. But inspiration doesn’t just stem from organizations or nonprofits. Inspiration stems from everyday interactions with everyday people. If you want to inspire others, we suggest starting in your own community and asking yourself, ‘how can I inspire kindness in my own backyard?’ Then, determine how you can make a difference with the resources at your disposal.

Statistics have proven that people who perform acts of kindness have a significant increase in overall happiness, besides that fact why do you think kindness is of high importance?

Similar to the ways that kindness can improve our physical and mental well-being, it can improve the health of a community. Kindness can bring a community together despite differences that may exist. We believe that spreading kindness is about changing a culture and we need the help of many to create a culture that’s based on kindness.

What is the ultimate goal of City of Kindness?

Our goal is to inspire kindness across the nation and the world by creating a culture that is based on kindness. The message of City of Kindness is for everyone, everywhere, and we believe it’s important to start at the local level. We recognize the importance of focusing efforts on a few priority audiences who can act as catalysts to jump-start kindness among their own communities. We’re working with city leadership, including mayors and chiefs of staff of major U.S. municipalities, to call upon them to participate in a resolution. We have a special focus on youth because the fastest-growing movements are fueled by the passions of the young.

How can we encourage other cities to be kind?

We encourage all cities to join the City of Kindness movement by connecting city leadership with ideas, tools, and resources to take action. Individuals can reach out to their city council and leadership teams to encourage them to sign the City of Kindness Mayor’s Pledge. Our intention with this designation is to take steps to foster kindness through encouraging residents and visitors to choose to make the world a better place through kind thoughts and actions. The master Kindness Counter appears on the city of kindness website. Think of it as the Coordinated Universal Time clock for acts of kindness. This counter aggregates acts of kindness from across the nation – both from the outreach of mayors and all the other organizations and resources we have. By going to cityofkindness.org, people can submit and count acts of kindness occurring all across the United States. In less than one year since the official launch, we’ve logged more than 500 million acts of kindness on the Kindness Counter.

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Juan Acosta

Juan Acosta, 19, is from Woodland, California. He is currently completing his last year at Woodland Community College before transferring to San Francisco State University where he plans to study Psychology. He has worked with nonprofits such as the Yolo Family Resource Center, attended multiple leadership camps, and hosted a local television show "Teens on the Move." He is interested in research into community dynamics, coping with emotional and psychological trauma, ways to protect minority students, and how to make schools a bully free zone. In Juan's free time he enjoys going out with friends, family, and working out.

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